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Health and Safety


Driving at work
Managing work-related road safety


More than a quarter of all road traffic incidents may involve somebody who is
driving as part of their work at the time (Department for Transport figures).1
Health and safety law applies to work activities on the road in the same way as
it does to all work activities and you need to manage the risks to drivers as
part of your health and safety arrangements. This leaflet suggests ways you can
do this.

Effective management of work-related road safety helps reduce risk, no matter

what size your organisation is. It could also result in, for example:

■■ fewer injuries to drivers;

■■ reduced risk of work-related ill health;
INDG382(rev1), ■■ reduced stress and improved morale.
published 04/14
Health and safety law does not apply to people commuting (ie travelling between
their home and their usual place of work), unless they are travelling from their home
to somewhere which is not their usual place of work.

Who should read this leaflet?

The leaflet applies to any employer with employees who drive, or ride a motorcycle
or bicycle at work, as well as self-employed people. It also applies to those using
their own vehicle for a work-related journey. It will be particularly valuable to those
responsible for fleet management. Employees and their safety representatives will
also find it helpful.

Employers with large goods vehicles (LGVs) or passenger carrying vehicles (PCVs)
may also be subject to specific legal requirements that take priority over the general
advice given here.

The law

Employers have duties under health and safety law for on-the-road work activities.
The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSW Act)2 states you must ensure,
so far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of all employees while at
work. You must also ensure that others are not put at risk by your work-related
driving activities. The self-employed have similar responsibilities.

‘So far as reasonably practicable’ means balancing the level of risk against the
measures needed to control the real risk in terms of money, time or trouble.
However, you do not need to take action if it would be grossly disproportionate to
the level of risk.

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Health and Safety

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 19993 require you to
manage health and safety effectively. You must carry out an assessment of the
risks to the health and safety of your employees, while they are at work, and to
other people who may be affected by your organisation’s work activities. See
‘Assessing risks on the road’.

You must consult with your employees and, where applicable, their health and
safety representatives, on health and safety issues, including:

■■ risks arising from their work;

■■ proposals to manage and/or control these risks;
■■ the best ways of providing information and training.
There is more advice in the HSE leaflet Consulting employees on health and safety:
A brief guide to the law.4

You also have duties under road traffic law, eg the Road Traffic Act and the Road
Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations, which are administered by the police,
and other agencies such as the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). See
‘Other useful contacts’ at the end of the leaflet.

In most cases, the police will continue to take the lead on investigating road traffic
incidents on public roads. HSE will usually only take enforcement action where the
police identify that serious management failures have been a significant contributory
factor to the incident.

If one of your employees is killed, for example while driving for work, and there is
evidence that serious management failures resulted in a ‘gross breach of a relevant
duty of care’, your company or organisation could be at risk of being prosecuted
under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007. There is more
information on HSE’s website (

How to manage work-related road safety

Organisations have a legal duty to put in place suitable arrangements to manage

health and safety. This is a wide-ranging requirement, so HSE encourages a
common-sense and practical approach. It should be part of the everyday process
of running an organisation and part of good management generally.

An HSE leaflet explains how you can follow a ‘Plan, Do, Check, Act’ approach to
help you achieve this.5 Here are some examples of how this approach can be
applied to work-related road safety.

Plan – Describe how you manage health and safety in your organisation and plan
to make it happen in practice

■■ Assess the risks from work-related road safety in your organisation.

■■ Produce a health and safety policy covering, for example, organising journeys,
driver training and vehicle maintenance.
■■ Make sure there is top-level commitment to work-related road safety in your
■■ Clearly set out everyone’s roles and responsibilities for work-related road
safety. Those responsible should have enough authority to exert influence and
be able to communicate effectively to drivers and others.

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Health and Safety

Do – Prioritise and control your risks, consult your employees and provide training
and information

■■ In larger organisations, make sure departments with different responsibilities

for work-related road safety co-operate with each other.
■■ Make sure you have adequate systems to allow you to manage work-related
road safety effectively. For example, do you ensure your vehicles are regularly
inspected and serviced according to manufacturers’ recommendations?
■■ Make sure you involve your workers or their representatives in decisions. This
is a good way of communicating with them about health and safety issues.
■■ You must provide training and instruction where necessary.

Check – Measure how you are doing

■■ Monitor performance to ensure your work-related road safety policy is effective

and has been implemented.
■■ Encourage your employees to report all work-related road incidents or near misses.

Act – Review your performance and learn from your experience

■■ Make sure you collect enough information to allow you to make informed
decisions about the effectiveness of your existing policy and the need for
changes, for example targeting those more exposed to risk.
■■ Regularly revisit your health and safety policy to see if it needs updating.

Assessing risks on the road

As an employer or self-employed person, you are responsible for assessing the risks
to health and safety in your business. Risk assessment for any work-related driving
activity should follow the same principles as for any other work activity. You can
delegate the task, but you will need to make sure it is carried out by someone who:

■■ is competent to do so (has the right skills, knowledge and experience);

■■ involves your workers in the process;
■■ understands when specialist help may be needed.
Risk assessment is about identifying and taking sensible measures to control the
risks in your workplace, not about creating huge amounts of paperwork. You may
already be taking steps to protect your employees, but your risk assessment will
help you decide whether you should be doing more. The aim is to make the risk of
someone being injured or killed as low as possible. See the HSE website
( for more information.

A hazard is something in your business that can cause harm. A risk is the
chance, however large or small, that a hazard could cause harm.

Identify the hazards

Look for hazards that may result in harm when driving on public roads. Remember
to ask your employees, or their representatives, what they think as they will have
first-hand experience of what happens in practice.

You need the views of those who drive extensively, but also get the views of those
who only use the roads occasionally. The main areas to think about are the driver,
the vehicle and the journey. See the ‘Work-related road safety checklist’ for some
suggestions about what to consider.

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Health and Safety

Who might be harmed?

Decide who might be harmed and how. This will usually be the driver, but it might
also include passengers, other road users and/or pedestrians. Also consider
whether there are any groups who may be particularly at risk, such as those new to
the job and those driving long distances and working long hours.

Evaluate the risks

Having identified the hazards, decide how likely it is that harm will occur. You are
not expected to eliminate all risks, but you must make sure you know about the
main risks and how to manage them responsibly. You need to do everything
reasonably practicable to protect people from harm.

Record your findings

Record your significant findings – make it simple and focus on controls. If you have
five or more employees, you are required by law to write it down. If you have fewer
than five employees you don’t have to write anything down, but it is good practice to
keep a record. An easy way to record your findings is to use HSE’s risk assessment
template: This also
includes a section for your health and safety policy.

Regularly review your risk assessment

It makes sense to review your risk assessment on a regular basis. There is no set
frequency for carrying out a review, but you need to ensure that the risks to those
who drive, and others, are suitably controlled.

For this to be effective you need to know about any road incidents, your drivers and
vehicle history. Changing circumstances may also prompt a review, eg introducing
new routes, new equipment or a change in vehicle specification. If anything
significant changes, check your risk assessment and update it.

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Health and Safety

Work-related road safety checklist

Working through this checklist and thinking about the three areas of safe
driver, safe vehicle and safe journey will help you manage work-related
road safety effectively.

Safe driver

Are your drivers competent and capable of doing their work in a way that is safe
for them and other people?

■■ Have you specified what levels of skill and expertise are required to do the
job safely and how do you ensure these are met?
■■ Do you check the validity of driving licences on recruitment and periodically
■■ What are you doing to make sure your drivers are aware of company policy
on work-related road safety and understand what is expected of them?
■■ Could you use written instructions and guidance, training sessions or group
meetings to help you communicate your policy more effectively?

Are your drivers properly trained?

■■ Do you provide general induction training for drivers?

■■ Do you arrange for drivers to be trained – giving priority to those at highest
risk, eg those with high annual mileage, poor accident records, or those new
to the job?
■■ Do you find out whether drivers require extra training to carry out their duties
safely, such as using defensive driving techniques, or how to load and
unload safely?
■■ Do you consider training about other road users, eg cyclists or
■■ Do you assess training needs periodically, including the requirement for
refresher training?
■■ Do you ensure your training providers are competent to deliver the training
you need?

Do you ensure your drivers have clear instructions about how to keep themselves
safe while on the road?

■■ Do drivers know how to carry out routine safety checks, such as those on
lights, tyres and wheel fixings, and report any faults?
■■ Do drivers know how to correctly adjust safety equipment, eg seat belts and
head restraints?
■■ Do drivers know how to use anti-lock braking systems (ABS) properly?
■■ Do drivers know what to do to ensure they are safe if their vehicle breaks
down, eg use safety warning triangles and high-visibility jackets?
■■ Do you need to provide a handbook for drivers giving advice on road
■■ Do drivers know they must not drive under the influence of drink or drugs?
■■ Do drivers know they must not use a hand-held mobile phone while driving
and that even using a hands-free phone can seriously affect concentration?
■■ Are drivers aware of the height of their vehicle, both laden and empty? There
are estimated to be around three to six major bridge strikes every day.
■■ Do you make sure crash helmets and protective clothing for motorcycle and
bicycle riders are of the appropriate standard?

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Health and Safety

Are your drivers sufficiently fit and healthy to drive safely and not put themselves
or others at risk?

■■ Do drivers of heavy lorries, for whom there are legal requirements for
medical examination, have the appropriate medical certificate?
■■ Do you remind drivers that they must satisfy the eyesight and other health
requirements of the Highway Code6 and DVLA?
■■ Have you told drivers they should not drive while taking medicine that
might impair their judgement? If there is any doubt, they should ask
their GP.
■■ Are drivers aware of how dangerous tiredness can be and do they know
what to do if they start to feel sleepy?
■■ Do you encourage drivers to report any health concerns?
Do you know your duties under health and safety law when employing
contractors and subcontractors?

■■ Did you know that both you and the contractor you use have duties under
health and safety law? An HSE leaflet Using contractors: A brief guide
provides more advice.7
■■ Do you ensure contractors are competent to do the job safely and without
risks to health and safety?
■■ Do you provide contractors with information on the risks from your activities
and the controls you have in place?
■■ What arrangements do you have in place to ensure contractors tell you
about any additional risks from their contracted work?
■■ Have you set up liaison arrangements for co-operation and co-ordination
with all those responsible to ensure the health and safety of everyone
■■ Do you decide what you need to do to manage and supervise the work of
contractors and agree any controls before work starts?

Safe vehicle

Are vehicles fit for the purpose for which they are used?

■■ Do you investigate, when buying new vehicles, which ones are most suitable
for driving and for the health and safety of the public?
■■ Do you make sure your vehicles have driver aids and other safety devices
where appropriate, eg reversing alarms, camera systems, proximity sensors,
and side protection bars for lorries or HGVs to protect cyclists?
■■ Do you ensure privately owned vehicles are not used for work purposes
unless they are serviced in line with manufacturers’ recommendations,
insured for business use and, where the vehicle is over three years old, have
a valid MOT certificate?
■■ Do you ensure drivers and passengers would be adequately protected in an
incident, eg are any seatbelts, head restraints or airbags correctly fitted,
working properly and used?
■■ Do you ensure vehicles do not exceed their maximum load weight?
■■ Do you have appropriate arrangements for carrying and properly securing
goods and equipment in a vehicle?

Are vehicles maintained in a safe and fit condition?

■■ Do you ensure daily vehicle checks are carried out?

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Health and Safety

■■ Is planned/preventive maintenance carried out in accordance with

manufacturers’ recommendations? Remember – an MOT certificate only
covers basic defects and does not guarantee the safety of a vehicle.
■■ Do you ensure tyres and windscreen wipers are inspected regularly and
replaced as necessary?
■■ What procedures are there for reporting defects and are they remedied
■■ How do you ensure maintenance and repairs are carried out to an
acceptable standard?
■■ Do you have a clear policy that unsafe vehicles should not be driven?

Are you sure that drivers’ health, and possibly safety, is not being put at risk, eg
from an inappropriate seating position or driving posture?

■■ Do you take account of ergonomic considerations (eg driving position and

how accessible the controls are) before buying or leasing new vehicles?
■■ Do you involve drivers in decisions about seating design?
■■ Do you provide drivers with guidance on good posture and, where
appropriate, on how to set their seat correctly?

Safe journey

Do you plan routes thoroughly?

■■ Could you use safer routes which are more appropriate for the type of
vehicle doing the journey? Motorways are the safest roads and although
minor roads may be fine for cars, they are less safe and could cause
difficulties for larger vehicles.
■■ Does your route planning take account of overhead restrictions, eg bridges
and tunnels and other hazards, such as level crossings, which may present
dangers for long vehicles?
■■ Can you eliminate or reduce long road journeys by combining with other
ways of working or other forms of transport? For example, move goods in
bulk by train and then arrange for local distribution by van or lorry, or
arrange meetings using conference calls or video links.
■■ Do you plan routes in consultation with drivers or their representatives,
taking account of, for example, the need for rest breaks and access to
toilets and washing facilities?

Are work schedules realistic?

■■ Do you take account of periods when drivers are most likely to feel sleepy
when planning work schedules? Sleep-related incidents are most likely
between 2 am and 6 am and between 2 pm and 4 pm.
■■ Have you taken steps to stop employees from driving if they feel sleepy,
even if this might upset delivery schedules?
■■ Where appropriate, are tachographs fitted to vehicles and regularly
checked? There are other in-vehicle monitoring and telemetry devices which
help to ensure drivers are not putting themselves and others at risk.
■■ Do you try to avoid periods of peak traffic flow?
■■ Do you make allowances for new starters, young workers and trainee

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Do you allow enough time to complete journeys safely?

■■ Do journey times take account of road types and conditions, and allow for
rest breaks? The Highway Code recommends that drivers should take a
15-minute break every two hours.
■■ Would you expect an occasional driver to drive and work for longer than a
professional driver? Professional HGV drivers must comply with the rules for
drivers’ hours. There is more information at
■■ Does company policy put drivers under pressure and encourage them to take
unnecessary risks, eg to exceed safe speeds because of agreed arrival times?
■■ Do you allow drivers enough time to safely deliver loads?
■■ How do you ensure drivers are not being asked to work an exceptionally long
day? Remember that sometimes they will be starting a journey from home.
■■ Have you considered advising drivers who work long or irregular hours of
the dangers of driving home from work when they are excessively tired?
Could they consider an alternative, such as an overnight stay?

Do you consider poor weather conditions, such as snow or high winds, when
planning journeys?

■■ Can your journey times and routes be adjusted to take account of poor
weather conditions? Where this is possible, is it done?
■■ Are vehicles properly equipped to operate in poor weather conditions, eg
are anti-lock brakes or winter tyres fitted and is windscreen washer fluid the
correct strength for freezing conditions?
■■ Do drivers understand what to do to reduce risk, eg do drivers of high-sided
vehicles know they should take extra care if driving in strong winds with a
light load?
■■ Do drivers feel pressured to complete journeys where weather conditions
are exceptionally difficult and do they know who to contact if they need to
cancel a journey?


1 Reported casualties in accidents by journey purpose and casualty type

(Department for Transport statistics, updated annually):

2 Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 Ch37 The Stationery Office

3 The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 SI 1999/3242

The Stationery Office

4 Consulting employees on health and safety: A brief guide to the law

INDG232(rev2) HSE Books 2013

5 Plan, Do, Check, Act: An introduction to managing for health and safety
INDG275(rev1) HSE Books 2013

6 The Highway Code The Stationery Office

7 Using contractors: A brief guide Leaflet INDG368(rev1) HSE Books 2013

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Find out more

The health and safety toolbox: How to control risks at work HSG268
HSE Books 2013 ISBN 978 0 7176 6587 7

IOSH Management of occupational road risk information:

Management of work-related road safety RR018 HSE Books 2002

ISBN 978 0 7176 2549 9

Managing occupational road risk associated with driver fatigue: A good practice
guide RSSB 2013

RoSPA Road safety advice, information and resources:

RoSPA Driving for work information:

Work-related road safety case studies:

Other useful contacts

Brake: The road safety charity:

Brake and Interactive Driving Systems Fleet Safety Benchmarking Website:

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA): This incorporates

the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) and the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency

Freight Transport Association:

Occupational Road Safety Alliance:

Road Haulage Association:


‘Think!’ Department for Transport’s road safety site for road users:

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Further information

For information about health and safety, or to report inconsistencies or inaccuracies

in this guidance, visit You can view HSE guidance online and
order priced publications from the website. HSE priced publications are also
available from bookshops.

This guidance is issued by the Health and Safety Executive. Following the guidance
is not compulsory, unless specifically stated, and you are free to take other action.
But if you do follow the guidance you will normally be doing enough to comply with
the law. Health and safety inspectors seek to secure compliance with the law and
may refer to this guidance.

This leaflet is available at:

© Crown copyright If you wish to reuse this information visit for details. First published 04/14.

Published by the Health and Safety Executive 04/14 INDG382(rev1) Page 10 of 10